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Alessandro Ballan (left) rode in the break for most of Saturday's stage. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
Alessandro Ballan (left) rode in the break for most of Saturday's stage. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

Vuelta a España, Stage 14: Ballan in the Break

1. September 2012

Alessandro Ballan continued the BMC Racing Team's trend of representation in the breakaway by being part of a group of 16 that escaped the pack 25 kilometers into Saturday's 149.2 km stage of the Vuelta a España.

Morabito, Eijssen Finish Together
Ballan's group began to splinter on the second-to-last of five categorized climbs, 30 kilometers from the finish. The last of the escapees was swept up within four kilometers of the line as race leader Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha Team) took the stage win ahead of Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) and increased his lead over Contador to 22 seconds. Ballan said the breakaway – which never enjoyed more than a four-minute led – was not destined to reach the finish. "It had a lot of riders in it and it wasn't good for Saxo Bank," he said. "I felt good, but this stage wasn't one for me in the final. But I did have good sensations in my legs and feel ready for the next two mountain stages." Friday, it was Steve Cummings soloing to a stage win out of the break for the BMC Racing Team while Amaël Moinard was in an escape the day before. Yannick Eijssen had his best placing thus far in the Vuelta (29th at 3:38) while following teammate Steve Morabito (28th at 3:31) to the line. "We know we don't have a pure climber here who can fight at the finishes, so we'll keep trying the next two days in the mountains to get in the breakaway," BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said.